How Are Architect’s Fees Calculated?

Are you wondering how much it will cost to hire an architecture firm for your home remodel or new construction? It’s important to set a budget and know the projected costs ahead of time. This will set you up for success throughout the design and construction phases. While the exact fees will depend on the firm you choose, your geographical location, and the level of service being provided, the fee structure also plays an important role.

There are a few methods that architecture firms use to calculate their fees. Some fee structures have advantages over the others, so it’s important to know the pros and cons of each as they relate to your project. Here are the approaches taken by some of the top architecture firms in Oakland, CA.

Method #1: Charging Based on Construction Cost

One common approach for residential projects is to charge a percentage of the construction cost, for example, 10 or 15%. The problem with this method is that many clients don’t quite know what their budget should be. When it comes to renovations, it’s difficult to know how much the total cost will be. You never know what construction issues might show up after the renovation begins. Due to the uncertainty, this is a difficult and often inaccurate way to charge.

Method #2: Charging an Hourly Rate

Other architects charge an hourly rate for their services. Before the project begins, they will provide an estimate for the total cost. After that, they will track the time spent on the project and bill accordingly. For larger-scale renovations, additions, and new construction, this is a fair approach that takes the size and complexity of the project into account.

With this fee structure, it is important to set clear milestones. This allows you to gauge how much you have paid in comparison to the estimate. If you end up paying much more after the first milestone and you have not requested a lot of changes, that’s a sign that you may need to talk to your architect about efficiency and expectations.

At Drafting Cafe, we pride ourselves on our efficiency and communication. Larger additions and renovations are typically billed hourly, with a proposal based on real-world experience on similar projects. Our architectural design estimates are realistic and fair, and account for time to explore different options.

Method #3: Charging a Fixed Fee

For projects that have a clear path to development, such as smaller additions and remodels, a fixed fee can really benefit owners. Fixed fees are not widely used for large or complex renovations, but they can be great if you are just getting your kitchen or bathroom remodeled or building a small addition.

With a fixed fee, you know exactly how much you’ll be spending from the start. It simplifies the process and gives you a predictable fee and timeline while still giving you the one-of-a-kind home of your dreams. At Drafting Cafe, many of our projects are a fixed fee, and we also offer Design Packages that provide a convenient way to begin planning your dream remodel.

If you are interested in working with one of the most trusted architecture firms in Oakland, CA, turn to Drafting Cafe! With hourly rate and fixed-fee options available, you can maintain control over how much you spend to get the result you’re looking for. Your dream home awaits!


Get in touch with us. We would love to help you get your project off the ground